Elections to 126 urban local bodies likely in Oct - ECAS Punjab

Elections to 126 urban local bodies likely in Oct

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Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18

The Punjab Government on Saturday decided to hold elections to the 126 urban local bodies (ULBs) in the second week of October, subject to the emerging Covid situation.

Ruling out the possibility of conducting the polls next month in view of the increasing number of Covid cases, the government decided to time the polling between Dasehra (October 25) and Diwali (November 4), as procurement and festival season would start towards mid-October.

Polls amid Covid pandemic

  • The state government plans to hold polls between Dasehra (October 25) and Diwali (November 4), as procurement and festival season will start towards mid-October.
  • The ministers say holding elections in October will help gauge the mood of voters as the Assembly polls are due in 2022

A Cabinet sub-committee of the ministers, comprising Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Badal, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Vijay Inder Singla and Sunder Sham Arora, who held a meeting with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh through video-conferencing, unanimously agreed to recommend holding the elections tentatively on October 11 to the State Election Commission.

The Chief Minister told his Cabinet colleagues that it was expected that the Covid cases would peak in September. The state government is likely to push nearly Rs 1,000 crore into development works in the coming days, ahead of the elections. Initiating the discussion, Local Government Minister Brahm Mohindra proposed to hold the elections while resorting to extreme precautions and preventive measures for the polling staff as well as the voters. He sought availability of funds for development works.

The Local Government Department has been asked to take legal opinion on holding the elections in October, as it could have legal implications given the fact that the elections are due between September 5 and September 20, as the extended term of the administrators-led ULBs is ending by that time.

The ministers deliberated that holding the elections in October would help the government gauge the mood of the urban voters as the Assembly elections were due in March 2022.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister reportedly put forward figures on the lack of development works in urban and semi-urban areas and no relief to urban Hindu population. He had previously stated that the ULBs had fared poorly during the 2019 Assembly elections, when Navjot Singh Sidhu held the charge of the department. The government had then cited lack of development as one of the reasons.

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3jiCzQp

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